Pepperdine (1-0) at UC Riverside (0-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 13, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: UC Riverside Student Recreation Center (3,168) -- Riverside, California. Television: None. Home Record: Pepperdine 1-0, UCR 0-0. Away Record: Pepperdine 0-0, UCR 01. Neutral Record: Pepperdine 0-0, UCR 0-0. Conference Record: Pepperdine 0-0, UCR 0-0. Series Record: Pepperdine leads, 4-1.
GAME NOTES: The UC Riverside Highlanders play their home opener on Wednesday night, as they welcome the Pepperdine Waves to the Student Recreation Center.
Pepperdine's 2012-13 campaign was largely a disappointment, as its went 12-18 overall and just 4-12 in the West Coast Conference, but after losing its final five games of last season, it tipped off the new season with an 81-68 home win over San Diego Christian last Saturday.
Not only was UCR the worst team in the Big West Conference a season ago, but it was one of the worst in the nation, winning just six of its 31 games, and a similar showing is expected in the new campaign. The Highlanders opened up with a road game at a very good San Diego State team, and they were blown out of the gym with an embarrassing 77-41 setback.
Pepperdine has beaten UCR in four of five all-time meetings, which includes a convincing 62-40 win in Malibu last season.
Although the Waves' accomplishments in the opener should be taken with a grain of salt considering it came against an inferior San Diego Christian squad, they still looked sharp out of the gate, shooting 52.5 percent from the floor. Stacy Davis led the way with 24 points, doing so on 9-of-13 from the floor and 6-of-9 from the free-throw line. After being named the WCC Newcomer of the Year last season thanks to posting 11.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, Davis will be the team's go-to option in most games. Brendan Lane, a former UCLA Bruin, made an impact in the paint in his team debut, tallying 12 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks. Lamond Murray, Jr. came off the bench to score 13 points. Even with the win, Pepperdine has some things to work on. It was just 4-of-18 from 3-point range, and it committed 16 turnovers.
UCR gave itself no chance in its opener, as it was shelled in the first half, 38-13, on its way to a 36-point defeat. The team shot a lowly 23.1 percent from the field in the first half, and while it improved after intermission, it still finished the game just 16-of-52 from the floor and 8-of-23 from the free-throw line while turning the ball over 21 times. It could be a sign of things to come for the Highlanders, who scored fewer than 50 points on seven occasions a season ago. The lone bright spot in the loss was Taylor Johns, who shot 5-of-11 from the floor on his way to 14 points while adding nine rebounds and four blocks as well. Chris Patton (13.5 ppg) and Chris Harriel (10.6 ppg) are expected the be the team's top performers this season after posting solid campaigns in 2012-13, but the duo combined to score just five points in the opener on a dismal 2-of-14 showing from the field.
UCR will need to take advantage of matchups like this at home against other lackluster teams, as wins are expected to come at a premium. Pepperdine still has a lot to prove, but it should be able to move to 2-0 against the hapless Highlanders.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pepperdine 65, UC Riverside 59
11/13 10:32:39 ET